obey/abide by/observe/comply

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sheilamontreal

Member
vietnamese
Hi,
Please kindly tell me the collocation of these words respectively.
Are they interchangeable?
In what situation, one can't substitute the other?
I have one handy example like below:
YOU WILL NEVER FAIL TO OBEY SUCH REQUEST.
Can OBEY in above sentence be replaced by abide by or observe or other?
Thanks a lot for your time and patience.
 
  • The Scrivener

    Banned
    England. English
    Hi,
    Please kindly tell me the collocation of these words respectively.
    Are they interchangeable?
    In what situation, one can't substitute the other?
    I have one handy example like below:
    YOU WILL NEVER FAIL TO OBEY SUCH A REQUEST.
    Can OBEY in above sentence be replaced by abide by or observe or other?
    Thanks a lot for your time and patience.
    ........abide by such a request.

    ........heed (observe :cross:) such a request.

    ........comply with such a request.
     

    sheilamontreal

    Member
    vietnamese
    sound shift, possibly I should give you more details of the context.The story goes like this, one guy was on his vacation abroad,he parked his car in a "No parking" place and a traffic police left a note on his car to remind him that no car was allowed to stop here....,that's why he said : If you receive a request like this, you cannot fail to obey it!

    I thought IT here =request.So I rewrote the original as above title sentence.
    Ok, now ,do you still think "obey a request" is:cross:?
    Thanks and wait for all your answers.
     

    The Scrivener

    Banned
    England. English
    sound shift, possibly I should give you more details of the context.The story goes like this, one guy was on his vacation abroad,he parked his car in a "No parking" place and a traffic police left a note on his car to remind him that no car was allowed to stop here....,that's why he said : If you receive a request like this, you cannot fail to obey it!

    I thought IT here =request.So I rewrote the original as above title sentence.
    Ok, now ,do you still think "obey a request" is:cross:?
    Thanks and wait for all your answers.
    I think a request can also be a "demand", depending on tone of voice and context. Something you must obey.
     

    sheilamontreal

    Member
    vietnamese
    Hi, The Scrivener, thanks. What I really want to figure out is the nuance among these synonymies ,and their collocations .
    If we can say
    obey a request, can we say
    abide by a request? or
    comply with a request?
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    Hi,
    Please kindly tell me the collocation of these words respectively.
    Are they interchangeable?
    In what situation, one can't substitute the other?
    I have one handy example like below:
    YOU WILL NEVER FAIL TO OBEY SUCH REQUEST.
    Can OBEY in above sentence be replaced by abide by or observe or other?
    Thanks a lot for your time and patience.
    These all mean the same thing, but the first is more forceful than the others. The use of "obey" implies that the "request" will be enforced (by the law, by those in powerful positions). "Abide by" is rather old fashioned and less forceful. As for "observe", although it means the same as the other words I would not say "please observe my request" - sorry, but I can't tell you why this just sounds wrong! One could say "we all try and observe the rules of the game" (and might well say "it's important to obey the referee"). "Comply" has to take the form "comply with": "I will comply with his request" sounds OK if a bit stilted. Better to say "I will do as he asks". Hope this is of some use.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    The story goes like this, one guy was on his vacation abroad,he parked his car in a "No parking" place and a traffic police left a note on his car to remind him that no car was allowed to stop here....,that's why he said : If you receive a request like this, you cannot fail to obey it!
    You obey an order
    You comply with a demand
    You accede to a request
    You observe/abide by rules or regulations.

    In the story you quote, sheilamontreal, there's a joke. The traffic police are pretending that their notice is a request; but in reality it's an order!:eek:

    Loob
     
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